Studio JRU {Giveaway}

UPDATED WITH WINNER: Congrats to reader Misty! (I emailed you)

This inspires me:

[a recent gift from here]

This beautiful cross rests in a high traffic area of my home. A place where the wall is stenciled with a reminder of the One Rule I want to live by

Love God. Love Others.

Y’all know I love inspirational art. I want my walls and tabletops to talk to those living in and out of my home.

Jennifer of Studio JRU is a mixed media artists. She combines paper and paint and wood and creates simply beautiful work. Art is her calling and it draws the recipient closer to the Master Artist.

I love all her crosses:

Studio JRU is offering one reader a $50 gift certificate today. Please tell me what inspires you in a comment and that will be your entry.

This giveaway closes on Thursday.

In a Shocking Turn of Events, I’ve Become the Older Mom

In my 20’s I was one of those gals who looked 15. I was constantly mistaken for a teen (sometimes a teen mom). It was really annoying.

Gah, I miss those days.

Because y’all, that just doesn’t happen anymore.

Somehow in the last few years, I’ve gotten old. The lines on my face and the gray in my hair are clear indications, also the desire to plant fake flowers in my front yard, wear my glasses on a chain around my neck and drive 20 miles per hour everywhere.

Little things.

Let’s not speak of the house coat. (um, what is a that anyway?)

It’s strange being close to 40, having a preschooler and nearly a teen. I’m buying bras and baby dolls. The thing about being an older mom: People look to you for advice. I’m like, “Hey, read my book-you won’t find any advice, but it will give you insight into the gray hair and fake flowers.” Okay, maybe not the flowers.

I’m in a Mom’s Bible Study from my church. I joined because I wanted to get to know people and also [NEWSFLASH] I need help with mothering. I out-age everyone by probably ten years. They are so stylish and have such great skin…

It’s just weird being the older mom.

It gives me a strange hankering for some icy hot and prunes.

So, where are you in the mom journey?

By the way, I wouldn’t go back ten years for all the money in the world…..

I’m growing older gracefully (with the help of some hair color and tweezers).

Are you a young mom or are you older than dirt, too?

Compassion Fatigue

I’m tired.

I go to bed too late. Tick 28 things off my daily list. Balancing home, kids, marriage, ministry-precariously.

I toss and turn, dream heavy, most nights.

I wrestle.

I have always loved causes. Justice. Robin Hood rescuers.

I have taken you with me…we’ve bought chickens and seed in Uganda, sponsored Compassion kids all over the world, sent hundreds of shoes to S. Africa, sent 250 pillowcase dresses overseas,  1000 cans of baby formula to Ethiopia, and 345 of you gave your money towards Mercy House in the last 4 months of 2010. (The list goes on…)

just a glimpse into my garage, medical items YOU’VE donated for Mercy House

When I started my blog, I started it for me. I still write every day-just me and the computer screen, finding out how I feel about something when it leaves my fingertips.

I love mercy.

But in doing so, every time I hit publish, I gamble with giving you compassion fatigue.

I read tweets coming out of the Blissdom blogging conference from a panel on just that topic. I bristled-from guilt and disagreement.

Today, I’m at the Idea Camp, learning and listening, tomorrow I’ll be talking about  compassion fatigue.

And  guess what? I get compassion fatigue-there’s always one more cause…

Bottom line for me: if I have occasional fatigue from all the awareness, how in the world do the poor feel? I imagine they are tired of living without a voice. I assume they worry over their babies dying from preventable diarrhea and about their daughters prostituting themselves for food.

Suddenly, my fatigue doesn’t seem very important.

So, I wrestle.

And I thank God you are in this struggle with me.

How to Really Fight For Your Marriage

Many of you know our story.

It was painful to live, painful to tell. But with great pain, there is an opportunity for great healing.

And with healing there is testimony.

Through the process of nearly losing my marriage, I learned to fight for it.

With my marriage dangling by a thread, both of us broken and afraid, I remember declaring that I would not give up easily. I threw out all my preconceived ideas about marriage counseling,  not having enough money in savings to afford “help” and I went to battle, not against my husband, but with him.

The very fall of man, put husbands and wives at odds with each other. Marriage is not easy. At it’s best, it’s difficult.

But don’t be fooled:  Satan wants your marriage to fail. He is a vicious opponent without mercy. If you won’t fight for your marriage, he will.
I believe every marriage is worth fighting for and while some have Biblical reasons for divorce, I still believe God can rescue every marriage-IF- there are two willing people and sadly, that’s often not the case.

But if you are married-whatever condition your marriage may be in today-you need to fight for it.

How to really fight: [there are so many ways you can do this, here’s what has helped me]:

  • Ask hard questions-Is there intimacy in our marriage? Are there secrets?
  • Prepare yourself for unexpected answers-don’t rule out counseling. It’s not just for broken marriages, it can truly make your marriage better.
  • Trust -Believe in your spouse. Choose to trust.
  • Pray-simply said, hardly done. Pray for your marriage and your mate.
  • Eliminate distractions-turn off cable if it’s unhealthy, throw out edgy movies, only accept purity in your marriage.
  • Don’t condemn-this only causes strife.
  • Submit your marriage and your life to God. We have found the closer we are to God, the closer we are to each other.
  • Forgive-some things seem unforgivable. But in the end, we must forgive. (This doesn’t mean we have to continue to live in abusive, dangerous or unfaithful marriages)
  • Let your husband lead your home, submit to him on the big stuff. If you doubt him, pray that God will speak to him.

If you have an unbelieving husband, practice I Cor. 7.

Our marriage is not perfect and at this rate, it never will be, but it’s real and it’s good and it will last.

How do you really fight for your marriage?

WFMW: Screen Time Chart

We cut off our cable television a year ago. One of our two televisions broke six months ago and we decided not to replace it.

We’re down to Netflix, a news channel or two and PBS.

AND I LOVE IT!

Seriously. Except when all the people around me talk about the latest shows. I pull out my knitting and take a swig of Maalox antacid from my purse (No, wait, that was my grandma-which I am slowly becoming).

But I’ve learned that my kids still crave screen time-or anything electronic. They can sit for hours, idle and absorbed playing video games, watching reruns of The Addams Family, or at the computer.

We implemented screen time years ago. Our rule: 30 minutes a day of “screen” time-you pick the screen.

I just found this free Printable Screen Time Chart to help us keep track. We aren’t militant about it and sometimes we break our own rules to watch family movies, but generally, during the week, our house rule for our kids is 30 minutes a day.

It works for us!